Should Modesto's Beard Industrial District get special treatment because it's an important business tract?
Modesto and Beard leaders think so and will try Wednesday to convince a regional land-use agency.
Beard companies southeast of the city have used its sewer services since 1966 despite never annexing to Modesto. The arrangement has allowed "many successful businesses and industries that provide valuable jobs and tax base" to set up here, wrote Brent Sinclair, the city's economic development director, in a July letter to the Stanislaus Local Agency Formation Commission.
Since then, changes in state law have discouraged such deals, which are seen as circumventing normal annexation practices.
LAFCO used that reasoning in 2008 to prevent a company on Nathan Avenue from tapping into Modesto's sewer system when the company refused to sign away its ability to oppose eventual annexation.
Last year, LAFCO leaders agreed to a broad sewer exemption for Beard but insisted that new users consent to annexation.
In May, City Council members passed a resolution saying the rule "works against the intent of past City Council action and policy and serves to constrain the continued business relationship between the city, Beard and future business prospects."
The 2,000-acre tract is home to more than 30 warehouses. Thousands of people work in that area, which includes E.&J. Gallo Winery, Gallo Glass Co., Del Monte,
Frito-Lay, Georgia-Pacific, A.L. Gilbert Co., Kraft General Foods, Pacific Southwest Container, Seneca Foods, Silgan Container and Stanislaus Food Products.
The Stanislaus Local Agency Formation Commission will meet at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the basement chamber at Tenth Street Place, 1010 10th St., Modesto.
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Bee staff writer Garth Stapley can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2390.